KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee is figuring out the proper way to respond to its coach's criticism.
Volunteers coach Butch Jones had said Monday that he didn't like his team's consistency, and he canceled that night's scheduled player interviews as a result. He also criticized the efficiency of his quarterbacks later in the week.
Jones saw plenty of improvement in both areas Saturday during the team's first scrimmage. The scrimmage was closed to the media, but Jones and selected players spoke to reporters afterward. Jones said he liked his team's approach and mindset.
"I thought we grew up a little bit," Jones said. "I thought we matured a little bit."
One sign of maturity was the improved performance from the quarterbacks, two days after Jones said the Vols weren't playing "winning football" at that position. Senior Justin Worley and sophomores Joshua Dobbs and Nathan Peterman are competing for the right to start the Aug. 31 opener against Utah State after combining to throw 12 touchdown passes and have 16 passes intercepted last season.
"I think all of them are improving," Jones said. "I think Nate Peterman really took some very important steps moving forward today, and so did Justin Worley. Justin's starting to play with much more confidence, more command of the line of scrimmage. We still need more, but I see that overall development starting to happen."